Marlins radio play-by-play man Dave Van Horne told an interesting anecdote during the early part of this evening's Nationals - Marlins game.
He said that Duke Snider told him that back when he played he would frequently call time while in the batter's box. Now, this isn't all that unusual because many players call time to try to disrupt the pitcher's rythym.
That's not what Snider was doing though. He was calling time to allow himself to adjust his eyes. Snider said that when he was in the batter's box awaiting a pitch he'd trained himself to not blink. However, when the pitcher took longer than usual to deliver a pitch, Snider's eyes would start to water, so he'd call time.
Now, on the surface, that sounds pretty crazy. At least it did to me initially. But then I thought about it for a minute and remembered a management training session I attended a year or so ago at work. Our trainer was a former sharpshooter and he explained that as part of his training, he had learned how to minimize his blinking. Although he was many years removed from whatever it was he did wtih his sharpshooting skills he still had this unnatural ability to not blink. Actually, I don't remember much of anything that the trainer talked about, but I do remember watching his eyes intently after he told us about his blinking (or lack thereof) and being very weirded out that this man didn't blink.
Ok, so what's the point of that? Well, he told us how it benefitted a sharpshooter to not blink. While the impact of a blink is very slight, it forces your eyes to refocus when they open. If that's to happen when you're about to fire a gun, your aim may be off slightly (or by a lot).
I'd imagine that the same holds true for a baseball player swinging at a pitch. Duke Snider was a gerat ballplayer - an all-time great and a hall-of-famer. Maybe this not-blinking things was one of his keys to success. I'd be curious to know if other ballplayers employ this same tactic.